Ashleigh Barty vs. Simona Halep
|Date & Time||Tuesday January 8, 2019, 8:00 PM (EST)|
NSW Tennis Centre
The Line: -- Over/Under:
Ashleigh Barty and Simona Halep meet in the second round of the 2019 tennis Sydney International.
Ashleigh Barty is coming off a straight sets win over Jelena Ostapenko that took 18 games to decide. In the victory, Barty won 85 percent of her first serve points and 48 percent of her second serve points. Barty won 67 percent of her total service points and produced five breaks on 10 break points. Barty is quietly one of the hotter players on tour right now, as she’s won 10 of her last 13 matches and six of her last eight victories have been decided in straight sets. As long as Barty continues to serve well and controls the pace of the points, she has to like her chances to make deep runs all year long. It’s when Barty gets sloppy with her unforced errors is when she gets in trouble. Barty has won five of her last six matches on hard court.
Simona Halep hasn’t played a competitive match since September in Beijing, so there’s no telling what type of player we’re going to get. Halep has lost her last four matches and has been dealing with a back injury that she described “very scary”. Before the injuries and the losses, Halep was the best player in the world, which included a French Open title and a period where she won 22 of her last 24 matches. At this point, it’s just about Halep getting her feet under her, knocking off the rust and getting ready for another successful year. Halep has lost each of her last four matches on hard court.
These two have played twice and Halep has won both meetings in straight sets. The most recent match was in 2018 in Cincinnati and the other match was in 2018 in Montreal.
Barty has been playing well enough to where she was going to give Halep a run for her money regardless of the circumstances. Considering Halep hasn’t played since the end of September and has been dealing with a serious back issue, this is a match Barty should win. It takes players several reps to return their normal self, and she’s being thrown into the draw against a red hot and confident player, and she’s on home turf in Sydney.
Barty should have a considerable edge.